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Consumers lacking confidence in food supply chain.

Consumers lacking confidence in food supply chain.

Just under half (49 per cent) of British consumers trust the food industry to provide them with safe food to eat, new research has suggested.

The findings, uncovered by the Mintel Group, found that many customers cited a lack of awareness within supply chains as one of the main reasons for their low confidence.

Only 36 per cent of consumers claimed that they were satisfied that companies were aware of what was happening in their supply chain, while a similar number (34 per cent) disagreed.

Meanwhile, just 23 per cent of people believed that companies were working with their supply chains in a manner that was effective.

The findings come six months after the horse meat scandal was first uncovered, and suggest that many producers have not done enough to convince customers that there were adequate levels of protection against any similar crises.

Alex Beckett, senior food analyst at Mintel, said: "That food should not be harmful should be one of the most basic of consumer expectations, yet only half of adults feel the UK food industry provides food that is safe to eat, signalling a widespread breakdown of trust in the agri-food chain, and suggesting the need for more active communications and greater transparency towards consumers."

Other findings suggested that there were also concerns over whether companies were providing accurate labelling on their food packaging, with only two-fifths claiming to have confidence in firms to act in the correct manner.

Food safety has now been identified as being the number one accountability for the government, but the research does outline five ways in which companies can improve the leve of confidence among their consumers.

The use of British ingredients is cited as being a key factor, while the interest among buyers in foods sourced locally has increased from 17 per cent to 21 per cent in the four months ending March 2013.

Other points of importance for consumers include manufacturing details on labelling, as well as the product's origin, animal welfare assurances and the absence of artificial ingredients.


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